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G.R No. 172724 August 23, 2010 Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc., et. al.

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Petitioners v. Ricardo P. Albayda, Jr., Respondent.
Facts: Respondent Albayda is a District Sales Manager of Petitioner Pharmacia and
Upjohn, Inc. assigned in District XI in the Western Visayas. Pursuant to a district
territorial configuration for the new marketing and sales direction for the year 2000,
Respondent was informed in a memorandum that he will be reassigned as a District
Sales Manager to District XII in the northern Mindanao, which respondent adamantly
refused for reasons of personal inconvenience and dislocation from his family.
Pharmacias National Sales and External
Business Manager tried to convince him because being one of the top performing
sales managers of the company, his skills and expertise are needed by the District
office in Northern Mindanao which has been dismally performing in the past,
however, respondent still refused the transfer. The Human Resource Manager also
met with respondent telling him that he will be entitled to Relocation Benefits and
Allowance and reiterated in a series of memorandum that his services were badly
needed in Cagayan de Oro City due to the latters poor performance and also for his
personal growth. Respondent was even given the option to transfer in Metro Manila
with the same position as the District Manager was transferred to a different
position which he again refused. He viewed the transfer as the companys scheme
to terminate his employment. Respondent stopped answering these memoranda,
thus, the company sent him another memo dated 26 June 2000 directing him to
report for work within 5 days from receipt, otherwise, he will be terminated on the
basis of being absent without official leave (AWOL) and on July 13, 2000, the
company sent him a memo notifying him of their decision to terminate his services
on the ground of being AWOL and insubordination after he had repeatedly refused
to report for work despite due notice, hence this complaint for constructive
dismissal.
Issue: WON the transfer of respondent from Western Visayas to Cagayan de Oro City
was a valid exercise of the companys management prerogative.
Held: Yes. Jurisprudence recognizes the exercise of management prerogative to
transfer or assign employees from one office or area to another, provided there is
no demotion in rank, diminution of salary, benefits and other privileges, and the
action is not motivated by discrimination, made in bad faith, or effected as a form of
punishment or demotion without sufficient cause. The transfer in this case was a
valid exercise of a legitimate management prerogative to maximize business
opportunities, growth and development of personnel and the expertise of
respondent was needed to build the companys business in CDO which dismally
performed in 1999.There was no demotion as he will also be holding the same
position and the transfer did not indicate that his emoluments will be reduced. He
was even informed that he will be entitled to Relocation benefits and allowance.

Furthermore, in his employment contract, he agreed that he was willing to be


assigned to any work or workplace during the period of his employment as may be
determined by the company whenever the operations require such assignment.
There was no evidence showing that the restructuring of the company was done
with ill motives or with malice and bad faith purposely to constructively terminate
respondent. The CA failed to recognize the very nature of a salesman that it is
mobile and ambulant. On the issue of due process, while no actual hearing was
held, the same is not fatal, as only an ample opportunity to be heard is what the
law requires in order to satisfy due process of law. The twin notice were complied
with when respondent was sent a memo which served as a final warning directing
him to report for work within 5 days otherwise he will be terminated on the ground
of being AWOL. Upon receipt of this first memo, respondent could have asked for a
conference with the company which he failed to do, hence the second memo
informing him of the companys decision to terminate his services for being AWOL
and for insubordination for deliberately ignoring the defying the lawful orders of his
employer which is a valid ground for termination under Art. 282 (a) of the LC. He
was, however, awarded separation pay as a measure of social justice as this was his
1st infraction and considering his 22 years of services with the company.

Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/128132993/Pharmacia-v-Albayda-palattaoAngel#scribd